IMF calls on all countries to refrain from putting restrictions on exporting medical supplies



The IMF has called on all countries to refrain from putting restrictions on exporting medical supplies in view of their massive requirement across the globe to combat the coronavirus pandemic that has killed at least 119,000 people and infected nearly two million.

Medical supplies like surgical masks, gowns and ventilators are required in massive numbers across the globe because of the coronavirus pandemic that surfaced in central China's Wuhan city last year and spread to at least 185 countries and territories.

The coronavirus pandemic has infected nearly two million people and killed at least 119,000 globally, according to estimates by the Johns Hopkins University.

Indian-American Gita Gopinath, the IMF Chief Economist, told reporters here "We call on all countries to refrain from putting restrictions on exporting medical supplies. It is really essential, and this is the one, you know, one of the many areas where global cooperation is necessary. This is not a time to restrict the trade of medical supplies and essential equipment around the world.

Addressing a news conference at the IMF headquarters here ahead of the annual spring meeting of the IMF and the World Bank, Gopinath said that these are difficult times in terms of globalization for dealing with this pandemic.

There has been a restriction on the travel of people around the globe. There has been because of the fact that people cannot go to work, the factories, there has been a breakdown of global supply chains, so this is a result of this crisis that we have seen, she said.

But it is very important that this does not become a feature where we reverse all the gains that we have got from globalization, the IMF Chief Economist said.

Now, the world needs a healthy recovery, it needs a strong recovery, and that will not come about if the world de-globalizes because that would severely reduce productivity in the world and that's the last thing that we want at this time, Gopinath said in response to a question.

In the race to secure medical supplies, countries ban or restrict exports. On March 6, Siare Engineering, Italy's only ventilator producer, said all its production is reserved for domestic use after directions from the government.

The European Union on March 15 announced that it was restricting exports of personal protective equipment, including face shields, surgical masks and gowns.

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